By: Tanya Ward Goodman
“Where are my baby pictures?”
This is a question my daughter has asked before. It’s a legitimate question. Our so-called “family” scrapbooks peter out just after her birth. There are many reasons for this, the largest being that for me, having two children both under the age of three meant I had time to get us fed and dressed and that was about it.
When my son was born, I was still using a 35 mm camera, which resulted in 35 actual photos (of which, maybe three were worth saving). I mounted those photos, along with an assorted ephemera of ticket stubs, brochures, baby announcements and whatnot, on the thick black paper pages of a bound scrapbook. I wrote little notes about the who-what-when-wheres of the photos. I took the time to revel in my nostalgia for the very recent past.
When my daughter was born, I shot thousands of photos on a digital camera. I downloaded those images onto my computer where they piled up in no particular order. Out of focus shots taken by accident of the inside of my nose lined up next to critical documentation of my daughter’s first steps, her first birthday, her first day of school.
Time marched on.
Every so often, we’d sit down in front of the computer and click through a few hundred photos. But it wasn’t very cozy.
Every so often, I’d start to make a book using IPhoto or Shutterfly, but the computer would crash or the photos would take forever to upload and I’d lose patience or interest or both. Besides, we were living in the now, there was no time to look back. We had soccer games, school fairs and Halloween Parades to attend, birthday cakes to bake and Thanksgiving turkeys to roast. There were latkes to fry and trips to plan, pack for, and enjoy.
Seven years went by without a single scrapbook.
“Where are all my baby pictures?”
The question was asked again.
So I spent a week going through photos. I made seven books on IPhoto, one for each year. A new scrapbook arrived in the mail every few days and we sat on the sofa and laughed and talked and remembered. Seven years’ worth of birthday parties, egg hunts, holiday feasts, and travelling adventures. Good friends and a loving extended family surround us. My daughter turns the pages again and again to see herself turn from a baby to a tall and graceful girl. Her life looks pretty great.